Meet principal Helen Fisher

A Town Crier Community Column

I’ve had the opportunity this school year to talk with and highlight some of the principals and schools in the Toronto–Danforth community. For this second installment I spoke with Helen Fisher, principal of Westwood Middle School.

Although already a member of the Danforth community, Fisher was new to Westwood when she took over as principal this past September. Having served as principal at Chine Drive Public School for the previous five years meant she was familiar with the position and all it entails.

“I love being a principal,” she explained. “It gives you the chance to see a variety of classrooms and teaching styles, to be involved with all of the students and everything going on in the school. It allows me to form a strong connection with all the staff, as well as parents and the community.”

The only drawback, she noted, is the barrier of time.

“As a mother of two, I have to make sure I’m giving myself enough time to focus on my family, as well as looking after myself — I do try and keep work at work.”

For any free moments that do arise, Fisher cites a love of reading, saying she’s specifically been reading a lot of young adult fiction recently, so as to stay in touch with what her students are into. She also lists skiing, environmentalism and exploring her neighbourhood as activities she’s keen to fill her time with.

So how has her time been at Westwood so far?

“Amazing,” she said. “The staff are phenomenal. They truly care about the students, and are so committed to being involved in the school. They take time out of their personal lives to offer an incredible array of extracurricular activities, and to connect with students; something which I see the effects of on a daily basis.”

The students have also shown her a great welcome.

“They’re so receptive, so connected with each other and the school. A recent initiative we had about bullying really showed just how engaged they all are.”

Fisher spoke of how impressed she’s been with the inclusive nature of the students.

“Westwood has a variety of special needs programs and students — and all of the students are so inclusive of one another, regardless of what learning style or ability they have; there is no segregation.”

This kind of positive environment is wonderful for Fisher to see.

“Really, it’s why I got into education in the first place,” she said. “To help try and make a difference, and to help motivate students to make a difference in their communities — which is exactly what I’m seeing here at Westwood.”

About this article:

By: Cathy Dandy
Posted: Jan 18 2012 6:50 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto